Investment company names CEO

Wellington investment company Rangatira completed its year-long "changing of the guard" yesterday, as it eyes further investment opportunities created by a growing domestic economy.

Rangatira yesterday announced that Phil Veal had been appointed chief executive. Veal, originally from Canterbury, replaces Ian Frame, who retired in June after 11 years in the role.

Veal has been a partner at the middle-market investment and advisory firm Growfire in New York, a company he and his brother established in 2006.

Chairman David Pilkington, appointed nearly a year ago, yesterday told the annual general meeting that the past 12 months had seen a "changing of the guard" at Rangatira.

It has $50 million available for investment.

Veal's appointment followed a "comprehensive search" for someone who had the ability to take Rangatira into the future, Pilkington said.

Veal became Kea global chairman in 2012, succeeding the founder of "New Zealand's international network", Sir Stephen Tindall.

"Having established a successful international career in business, Phil wanted to return home and use his experience to help grow New Zealand companies," Pilkington said.

Pilkington said the company had focused on smaller acquisitions and growing existing investments over the past year. "We remain in a strong cashed-up position to take advantage of opportunities as economic activity increases."

In June the 76-year-old company said it had quadrupled full-year profit to $39.4m on the back of $32.1m in investment sales, although the sale of oil and gas services firm Contract Resources had put a dent in operating earnings.

Veal, who officially starts next month, said his new job presented a tremendous opportunity. "In a way this is kind of a dream role for me coming back to New Zealand. I wasn't actually convinced there was this sort of opportunity around."

Veal has been an investor and adviser to a range of early stage businesses in various sectors, including medical devices, consumer goods and wine.

Growfire's most recent success was the sale of a consulting firm he helped build, PIPC, to technology company Cognizant. PIPC grew to 300 consultants and annual revenue of US$66m (NZ$74.5m) before being sold in 2010.